Paleo Granola

Recently I’ve started eating paleo again. I researched and tested it out about a year ago and loved how it made me feel, but paleo’s hard when you’re single and don’t have anyone else to share the costs and labor with.  It’s also difficult when dating, as you don’t want to seem ridiculously high maintenance when it comes to grabbing dinner or a  drink.

Nonetheless, a worrying down-tick in health recently inspired me to try it again. And, one week into it I realized that paleo is actually quite good when you’re single! For starters, it makes you feel totally awesome: you wake up flat-stomached, your skin clears up, and you no longer feel congested and fatigued. In fact, you actually start to feel a little bit foxy in your yoga pants, as opposed to just “ugh I do not even care.” This in turn boosts your shaken confidence and gives you a noticeable glow, which is good for attracting a mate who is worthy of you. 😉

Of course, the less glamorous reason is that you do have time to cook, because honestly you aren’t going on a ton of dates or spending your weekends snuggled up on the couch.

Whatever. It’s hard to feel bad about your life when you’re chomping on THIS:

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Scrumptious Crumbly Paleo Granola  😀

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups raw nuts and seeds (I used almonds, walnuts, and pecans here but love pumpkin seeds in this too!)
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup coconut or almond flour
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (try doing less, then adding in to taste; honey can be subbed instead)
  • 3 tablespoons raw almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon allspice (this and ginger are strong spices — if you’re not used to them start with less and add to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • Generous sprinkling sea salt
  • Handful of dried cranberries (you can add whatever you like before or after cooking, just reduce syrup or honey if you’re using particularly sweet fruit)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Be fancy and mix dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in the other before combining, or be a savage and just dump it all in a giant bowl and attack it with forks to mix it like I did. Spread granola batter onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or foil (I used foil), then pop in the oven for about 15 minutes. 10 minutes in stir it around, then keep a suspicious eye on it because it’s easy to overcook.

Eat in a bowl of warmed coconut or almond milk, or atop Greek yogurt or kefir if you’re a dairy fan.  This also tastes really good plain. 🙂

You like? Then check this awesomeness out:

1) PaleoOMG’s Pumpkin Granola, which I made last week as my first foray into paleo cereal. It is sooooo freaking good and her blog rocks! 🙂 My only caveat is that if I made this again I would halve the amount of dates, as I had to add another cup of nuts and seeds and increase the spices to tone down the sweetness of the batter the first time around.

2) Just Eat Real Food’s “Sweet and Simple Guide to Paleo Granola”, which inspired me to make the recipe above! This site actually has a number of granola recipes that look great.

 

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green smoothies

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Wow, I just had the best weekend of my life.  H’s henna party and wedding were amazing and I absolutely loved spending days and nights in the company of my best friends.  We danced, we ran, we feasted, we dressed up, we did our hair, and occasionally we slept… it was perfect.  I can’t believe fate brought us all together.

Soon I will post some pictures of our exotic outfits and the big crazy grins that everyone had, but first, here’s an overdue mini-post about green smoothies.

Green smoothies are undeniably delicious and nutritious. Just look at that brilliant color!  🙂  The problem is that many people dislike the herbaceous taste of veggies and want to conceal it, but aren’t sure how to do so without adding a ton of calories and sugar.

Enter this indispensable website:

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Simple Green Smoothies is the prettiest and most user-friendly recipe guide I’ve ever seen. Simply click the artful photo of ingredients to discover a simple yet tantalizing recipe.  You won’t find needless gluten or dairy here, stevia, or other unnecessary sweeteners; you’ll find the kinds of smoothies you could make right now with a few basic items from your pantry and fridge. All of them are nourishing, and most are paleo.

I am obsessed with the PB&J one and frequently make it as a well-balanced breakfast.  One of my friends highly recommends the coconut pina colada-style smoothie.  However, because I am one of those odd folks who actually likes a green veggie flavor, I’ve also been making some ultra-green concoctions inspired by Simple Green Smoothies. Prior to finding this site I had never tried cilantro, parsley, or cucumber in a smoothie, and now I regularly play with them all with great success.

I don’t have any set recipes to share yet, as the whole point has been to toss handfuls of whatever fruits and greens I have lying around in my blender without really planning.  However, I have learned a few things:

  • A dollop of coconut oil will give your smoothie a silky texture and fuel you further.  Don’t overdo this dose of fat, but don’t fear it either.  You need fats and proteins to fuel you!
  • Half a frozen banana = instant creaminess. Don’t use a full one unless you want it very sweet.
  • Green smoothies with raw kale in them can develop a slightly chunky texture. Try using frozen kale or spinach and adding it first so that it has a bit of time to steep in whatever liquid you’ve added, or if you use raw kale, add coconut oil/more liquid than usual and blend for a longer time.
  • An inch of fresh ginger and/or a generous squeezing of lime juice really bring a green smoothie alive. I use both almost every time. 🙂
  • As a rule of thumb, green fruits (kiwi, green grapes, green apples) harmonize beautifully with green veggies and produce a vibrant color (see above.)  However, it’s worth experimenting with other kinds of fruits as well, even though the resulting smoothie is likely to turn out a dubious shade of brown.
  • Finally, don’t forget to get creative with your liquid. In addition to water and almond milk I like to play around with coconut water (fantastic for rehydration), coconut milk (canned or Silk style), aloe juice, and fruit juice.  Kefir is also a great tart dairy addition for those folks who like it. Just be careful if you use fruit juice, as you can inadvertently hijack the flavor and add a ton of sugar to your drink. Try water with a dash of orange juice first and get crazy from there.

Hope this inspired you! Please let me know if you try any more of the SGS recipes or come up with an awesome combination of your own.